Friday And-1 links: Ramon Sessions trade talk and more

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

Ramon Session trade rumors are still a hot topic. It may be close to the deadline when it happens but expect him to be moved.

That in no way means Sessions asked for a trade.

Baron Davis thinks the Knicks will win the NBA championship this year. In other news, I think I will date Kate Upton this year. About the same odds.

Here is a fantastic oral history of the Malice at the Palace, as collected by Jonathon Abrams at Grantland.

Floyd Mayweather was on NBC’s Costas Tonight and in a wide-ranging interview, he also talks about his controversial tweet about Jeremy Lin.

In contrast to fights, here are the Knicks meeting a young girl who has battled back from cancer. Great story.

Lakers fans, this story should scare the crap out of you.

How to quantify and define “clutch” is going to be one of the big topics at the SLOAN Conference in Boston this weekend. It is the one area where often the numbers and perceptions are most at odds. But we can all agree that the 76ers are not good at it.

Really wish I could be at SLOAN, but I can’t do ASG and it back-to-back weekends and still keep my wife speaking to me.

Hakeem Olajuwon is impressed with how LeBron James is playing, particularly in the post, but thinks he can do better.

Players union executive director Billy Hunter frustrated some players and agents during the lockout by not driving a hard enough bargain (there were hardline players as well). Hunter doesn’t care.

An MRI on the knee of Wizards guard Nick Young showed no structural damage. That’s good.

Joel Przybilla had his first action in more than a year with the Blazers Thursday and looked pretty solid.

Stephen Jackson is not traveling with the Bucks right now.

Bismack Biyombo’s left shoulder MRI showed it is only a strain.

Great breakdown of a key Spurs set — this team is the most precise in running their offense in the NBA right now.

Sacramento has released the details of the arena financing plan. As we at PBT have told you, the votes are there to get this passed.

Will Dirk Nowitzki ever play for the German national team again? Maybe not.

Dennis Rodman is going to be part of forming a stripper basketball league. How often do they play “pour some sugar on me” during those games?

NBA players and officials tend to give their money to Barack Obama and Democratic campaigns. Owners tend to go Republican.

The high school where Samuel Dalembert, Al Harrington, Kyrie Irving, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went is about to close down.

The Sixers waived center Francisco Elson.

The Cavaliers are keeoing Manny Harris around with another 10-day contract.

The Clippers are sending rookie Travis Leslie to the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League.

Rockets owner appears to leave seat, yell at refs during matchup with Thunder (VIDEO)

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The Houston Rockets are in control of their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and were up 3-1 heading into Tuesday night’s Game 5 in Texas.

That did not stop what appeared to be Rockets owner Leslie Alexander from complaining to NBA referees. During gameplay. While standing directly next to an official, some 20 feet from his courtside seat.

Via Twitter:

Congratulations are in order to Bill Kennedy, the official in question, for keeping his cool. Or perhaps he just was so surprised by some dude yelling in his ear from right next to him he didn’t know how to react.

Brandon Jennings no fan of the NBA’s new Awards Ceremony event

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Come June 26, Drake will be on stage in New York City, handing out the NBA’s awards — Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and so on. (We need to set an under/over on the number of players Drake hugs that night.)

The NFL does it. The NHL does it. And the NBA has decided to follow suit with a broadcast awards ceremony where everything — except the All-NBA Team — will be announced that night. It’s happening because the broadcast partners want it.

Brandon Jennings is not a fan. Here is what the Wizards’ point guard Tweeted:

Jennings took down a Tweet that said if he had won the award he would have wanted to get it with the organization and his teammates around him. (And no, he knows he’s not winning the award. If you were going to put that in the comments be more creative.)

There’s something to what Jennings is saying. The NBA award roll out was awkward at times in previous years, but it gave the fans a chance to celebrate the awards with their favorite player. Now, everyone will watch it unfold on television from a ballroom in NYC. That feels a little colder. Also, we will get to see the reaction of those who don’t win (particularly this season, where several players can make a strong case for MVP).

It will be interesting to see how this first year goes, and how the league tweaks it going forward. The more than two month gap between the end of the regular season and the awards could feel a bit awkward. But we’re not going to knock the idea until we’ve seen it in action.

Portland GM makes it official, Festus Ezeli will not be back with team next season

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This season the Portland Trail Blazers found their center of the future (and the present) in Jusuf Nurkic.

Which makes the next step fairly obvious: Portland will not pick up the option on Festus Ezeli for next season, GM Neil Olshay confirmed at the team exit meetings Tuesday.

Portland signed Ezeli on what they thought was a great contract (one-year, $7.4 million, with a team option for the second year) because he was coming off knee surgery last summer. However, Ezeli was never healthy, needed a second surgery, and never got on the court. After taking it slow over last summer he practiced with the team twice in mid-October, there was more swelling, so he pulled back.

This summer Ezeli will not draw any guaranteed money from teams, but some teams may take a look at him. Athletic bigs get a lot of chances in the NBA.

Gordon Hayward will play for Jazz in Game 5 without minutes restriction

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Gordon Hayward has averaged 20.5 points a game in these playoffs — and that includes a 40 point outburst in Game 3 — but what has been more impressive is he has done it efficiently, with a true shooting percentage of 61.1. While Joe Johnson and others have stepped up, Utah will need Hayward’s shot creation if they are going to win this series.

They will have it Tuesday night in Game 5.

After missing the second half of Game 4 due to food poisoning (he tried to play but was ineffective in the first half), he is back and ready to go this time around.

So is Rudy Gobert. The Jazz will be at full health, while the Clippers remain without Blake Griffin for the remainder of the playoffs.

Having those two back is a boost for the Jazz, they need to score more consistently against the Clippers, but the bigger key will be defensively trying to deal with Chris Paul on the pick-and-roll. He has been masterful this series, and the Jazz need to keep him in check to give their offense a chance.